August 29, 2014

It was time to press on with the score for ‘Psalm 32: “New Song”:”Loud Noise” (LXX)’ [working title] — the first in a notional series of music-orientated settings of the psalms. Originally, some of the Psalms were performed on stringed instruments, as indicated in verse 2 of the thirty-second Psalm:

ἐξομολογεῖσθε τῷ κυρίῳ ἐν κιθάρᾳ ἐν ψαλτηρίῳ δεκαχόρδῳ ψάλατε αὐτῷ 
[Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings*].

In my arrangement, the compositions will be played on an electric guitar and effectors. The source text is taken from the Septuagint (the Kione Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures). The Greek alphabet has 24 letters. Each letter is given a numerical value and assigned to one of 25 notes that make up a two-octave chromatic scale:


I chose the Septuagint translation because the number of letters in the Greek alphabet has the closest approximation to the number of notes in a two-octave chromatic scale. (Hebrew has 22 letters, Latin, 23, English, 26, and Welsh, 28.) In my Studio Notebook, I wrote down some initial thoughts, speculating upon how one might count a double octave in terms of 26 notes. This is problematic. There are 26 notes in two separate octaves, but only 25 notes in two consecutive octaves, because the last note of the first octave and the first note of the second octave are shared:


However, one could map the English alphabet onto two octaves, if they were separated by a further octave. In the background, I processed the remaining sound files for Matt. 20.13:


By 12.15 pm, I’d completed the transcription of Ps. 32.15 (LXX) and mixed down and uploaded Matt. 20.13 to The Floating Bible album.

Back into the studio. For the purposes of my practice, it’s a studio in two senses of the word: a visual artist’s atelier (Fr: ‘workshop’) and a sound artist’s rehearsal and recording room. It’s a place where the visual and sonorous cohabit unselfconsciously.


After lunch, I explored the parameters of Pedalboard III, adjusting each effector separately and in turn, while noting their optimum settings. It’s difficult to maintain ‘unity gain’ throughout such a complex rig due to the combination of analogue and digital effectors, each with a different capacitance and resistance rating on their respective input and output. I’ll make a number of recordings of test-drones tomorrow:


Evening. Dinner with the family and friends old and new.

* The quotation is from Ps. 33.2 (King James Version). The numbering of the Psalms in the Septuagint differs from that found in psalters and bibles translated from the Hebrew.

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